FREMANTLE council has backtracked after replacing a section of fence around Ken Allen Reserve with Bollards, only to face howls of protest from dog walkers.
Although winning after a very short campaign, the dog walkers say the issue has got them concerned about whether their access will be guaranteed when Fremantle council hands the reserve over to a new lessee.
The Fremantle and Districts Rugby League club has a short-term lease and is expecting to relocate to a new clubhouse in Treeby this May, with Perth Glory or Fremantle City Football Club potential new tenants.
Local ward councillor Fedele Camarda took his pooch to meet the walking crew on Thursday morning and says he’s hoping the locals get the lease and then negotiate usage rights with the Glory, which recently moved into the old Dockers’ headquarters on Fremantle Oval.
Mr Camarda said organisations like Glory often did seek exclusive use, but the dog walkers have a long history of co-existing peacefully with the rugby players and he’s keen to see that continue.
Carre Wylder led the dog walkers’ campaign to get the fence restored, but says it was broader than just their needs.
“This issue was a simple one,” Ms Wylder said.
“Community consultation is the best plan before spending public funds on a change of access to a multi-use public park otherwise you might inadvertently make a problem where there was none and then have to spend more public funds to fix it.”
Ms Wylder said there were people with disabilities and young parents amongst the regular users who were worried their dogs might run onto the road and be injured.
“There’s a mum who brings her kids down every morning and they’re trying to train their puppy, but they’re stuck way over in the corner because they worry it will run off.”
Ms Wylder said what made the council’s actions more bewildering was that it claimed to be replacing the fence because it was damaged, yet left the damaged section to install the bollards and got rid of a gate that only needed a bit of repair. It now needs to be replaced.
The council’s parks manager told the dog walkers delays in getting contractors or supplies could mean it will take a while before the gate is replaced.
by STEVE GRANT